ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN DE MODE DECEMBER 2023 VOL VI. ISSUE XXXVIII | LITERATURE
Article Published on: 07TH JAN 2024 | www.demodemagazine.com
"BEYOND ABSOLUTE LOVE" - BY AUTHOR LUCRETIA BINGHAM
"Beyond Absolute Love" unfolds as a gripping romantic drama traversing the bustling modeling realm of NYC to the misty landscapes of Switzerland and India. Cornelia Woodstock, a teenage model, shoulders the responsibility of supporting herself and her mother, yet her success in the glamorous world leaves her yearning for deeper fulfillment.
When betrayal fractures her world, Cornelia seeks solace by fleeing NYC and reconnecting with her estranged father. Their journey together leads them to India, a land steeped in mystique, where Hadji, Cornelia's childhood love and custodian of their shared cult, resides. Amidst the cultural richness and spiritual traditions of India, Cornelia's experiences take a profound turn as tragedy strikes—the devastating loss of her father and an unborn child.
In the midst of this heartbreak, Cornelia finds herself drawn even closer to Hadji and the captivating allure of Indian customs. The crucible of grief and love forces her into excruciating decisions, grappling with the essence of life, the complexities of love, and the profoundness of mortality. Questions loom large: will Cornelia break away from the constraints of the cult she grew up in, or will she heed the beckoning call of love?
Through this tumultuous journey, Cornelia learns an invaluable lesson: regardless of the destinations one might traverse, the ultimate allegiance lies in being authentic to oneself. Her path is laden with complexities, yet she embraces the realization that amid life's tempestuous turns, staying true to her own identity and values remains her paramount responsibility.
Bingham kept me in suspense throughout while she laid out two nearly equally delicious alternatives for the outcome. I was delighted with the one she chose. I want to say to Ms. Bingham, “Thanks for taking me on an all-consuming detour from my current life, even while being an advocate for accepting the very life I have and encouraging me use my imagination and energy to tweak it to be even better.” Much wisdom and insight are packed into this book.
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JOURNEY OF THE AUTHOR LUCRETIA BINGHAM
Lucretia Bingham, the accomplished author behind works such as "Absolute Cornelia" and its sequel "Beyond Absolute Love," epitomizes a life steeped in adventure and drama. Her journey into the realms of writing, painting, and photography finds its roots in her diverse educational background. Having studied writing and painting at Sarah Lawrence College, Bingham embarked on a career that spanned the creative landscape.
Beginning in Los Angeles post-graduation, she crafted a livelihood as a freelance writer, painter, and photographer. Her remarkable talents found their way into esteemed publications like Vanity Fair, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, and Saveur. Bingham's contributions were not limited to mere publications; she became a regular feature in the Los Angeles Times Magazine and its Travel section, enriching readers' experiences with her vivid narratives and captivating visuals.
Intriguingly, adventure and drama seem to be imprinted in Bingham's DNA. Her lineage connects her to the illustrious Hiram Bingham, renowned as the rediscoverer of Machu Picchu. This familial tie not only infuses her work but also serves as a source of inspiration. Hiram Bingham's legacy, which contributed to the creation of the iconic Indiana Jones character portrayed by Harrison Ford, echoes in her explorations. Bingham's life reflects a kaleidoscope of experiences. She walked the revered Inca Trail, retracing her grandfather's footsteps, danced joyously amidst Trinidad's vibrant Carnival for Saveur, revisited the quaint fishing village of her childhood, and traversed distant corners of the globe in pursuit of inspiration. Having returned to her East Coast roots alongside her beloved husband Jim, Bingham resides in a picturesque Long Island Sound-facing abode, where she immerses herself in daily reflections, painting, writing, and observing the passage of light. Her illustrious lineage and rich tapestry of experiences contribute to the palpable adventurous spirit evident in her literary works, weaving together elements of heritage, exploration, and an insatiable quest for the extraordinary.
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW OF AUTHOR LUCRETIA BINGHAM WITH DE MODE
Q: Your background spans writing, painting, and photography, with credits in esteemed publications. How do these artistic disciplines influence and inspire your storytelling process?
A. I grew up in a family of storytellers and artists. My mother taught me to spin a tale and to imagine characters. My father, an artist, taught me to look at the color and wonder of the world around me. And so I became a writer and an artist. As an adult, I was ever grateful that those twofold skills led to a career in travel writing.
Q: You've had experiences in diverse locations worldwide. How have your travels and adventures shaped the settings or themes in your books?
A. As I travelled the world on assignment, I took notes on all around me, the dance of the carnival in Trinidad, the flash of the orange robes of pilgrims against the backdrop of the brilliant green rice paddies in India, the turn of a smile of a handsome man, these became, sometimes many years later, the fodder for my novels.
Q: Machu Picchu and your grandfather's legacy seem to have a profound impact on your storytelling. Can you share how this familial connection inspires or influences your work?
A. My grandfather was a famous explorer. He discovered the vine shrouded Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. His dream of discovering what lay beyond the next ridge inspired me to travel to places that others might find intimidating. I have hitchhiked onto boats in the moonlit waters of Belize; I have trekked through the highlands of Peru.
Q: 'ABSOLUTE CORNELIA' and 'BEYOND ABSOLUTE LOVE' are part of your recent works. Could you tell us more about the inspiration behind these books and the journey of creating this series?
A. ABSOLUTE CORNELIA and BEYOND ABSOLUTE LOVE are recent novels. They are loosely based on my life. When I was a child, I was both sexually abused and suffered from the confining judgments of my father’s religious cult. As a young adult I was the target of a blackmail attempt from an ex lover. These provided the fodder for both books.
Q: As someone who's lived in different places, do you find your settings reflecting the places you've been or the experiences you've had?
A. I grew up on a remote island in the Bahamas. As a young adult I traveled to India and fell in love with a charismatic cult leader. Both experiences appear in both my recent books.
Q: How does your passion for adventure and drama translate into the characters and plots you develop in your books?
A. My mother was quite dramatic. She taught me well. I took the make believe qualities that a child uses to play pretend and turned them into books and articles. My mother also loved adventure. As do I. And so my heroines tend to dare to venture beyond the boundaries of the world subscribed to them by others.
Q: Can you speak about your writing and painting routine? How do these two artistic practices intersect or inform each other?
A. The need to create fires my everyday existence; it’s not just a habit, but an addiction. I capture dawn’s early light with a camera. I remember conversations and use them in stories. I yearn to replicate, on canvas, the light of a sunset striking gold along the beach. To me, both story telling and painting are about creating illusions in which others can believe.
Q: Having contributed to renowned publications, how does your experience in journalism and travel writing influence your approach to fiction writing?
A. During my career as a travel writer, I was known for my ability to evoke landscapes and people. I wanted people to feel that they were actually in the worlds I described.
Q: The character Indiana Jones was inspired by your grandfather. How does this familial connection echo in the stories you craft?
A. My grandfather was the inspiration for the character of Indiana Jones. I aspire to create heroines who might loom as large as he did. I want my heroines and thus my readers to dream of venturing into the unknown, both in love and in their choices.
Q: Are there particular themes or messages you aim to convey through your recent works, 'ABSOLUTE CORNELIA' and 'BEYOND ABSOLUTE LOVE' ?
A. Both my recent books, ABSOLUTE CORNELIA and BEYOND ABSOLUTE LOVE are about finding your authentic self. As women, we are often told who and what we are by the constraints of the societies around us. Our challenge is to delve into our own truths, to find out what matters to us. In both books, Cornelia is on such a journey.
Q: Could you share a bit about the process of writing sequels? How do you maintain continuity and keep the narrative engaging across multiple books?
A. As to the challenges of writing a sequel, I find, after creating characters they often continue to have a life of their own. They wake me up at night, saying, what are you going to do to finish telling my story? And so I capitulate and write a sequel.
Q: What do you hope readers take away or feel after immersing themselves in your stories?
A. I hope that my readers will come away feeling as if they’ve been vaulted into another world. And that they will be challenged to live an examined life.